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Bring On The Carbs

Bring On The Carbs

Atkins-schmatkins. These pastas, risottos, breads, rice and noodles can all banish carb's bad rep.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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The Complimentary Housemade Bread And Butter

When a meal begins on a simple but exquisite note of housemade sourdough and parsley butter, you know the rest of it is going to be more than alright.
The interesting thing is the flavour of their butter changes as it depends on what Chef Ivan Brehm gets his hands on, and how the produce inspires him.

Vongole Genovese (Pasta with Clams in Basil Pesto)

Have the Vongole Genovese at @ristoranteluka for lunch and it is $14++ due to their grand opening promotion. Have it for dinner and it's $18++. Still very good value as far as I'm concerned because the clams taste fresh and that housemade basil pesto is terrific. Almost invisible to the naked eye is the finely grated Parmesan cheese. It's the final touch by the chef before the dish exits the kitchen. I do like how it enriches the fragrant pesto slightly.

Grand Opening Promotional Lunch Menu: Ikasumi ($14++)

Ridiculously delicious, and only $14++ if you go at lunchtime.
I loved how the al dente bavette pasta, large pieces of tender squid, squid ink cream, tomato sauce, garlic and parsley blended so harmoniously. It was yummy umami-ness from start to finish.
For something of this quality in terms of taste and portion size, the price is unexpectedly affordable. You need to eat it to believe it.

Bucatini ($26++/$34++)

If you are into robust pastas, do yourself a favour and try this Bucatini. The thick-strand pasta is cooked with a mouthwateringly delicious braised oxtail that's fall-apart tender, and for a little more richness, Parmigiana cheese. It's finished with a truckload of freshly shaved summer truffle that's amazing with the oxtail sauce.
We had gotten the larger serving to share but once we all tried a bite, plans of returning to have a whole plate to ourselves were discussed.
I found this tasted exceptional with a good burgundy, which fortunately, Iggy's stocks plenty of.

Australian Prawn Capellini Aglio Olio ($19++)

Having heard a number of people rave about the Australian Prawn Capellini Aglio Olio at Firebake, I was determined to eat it tonight. Guess what? I am officially now one of those people too! 😆
If you are into prawns and pasta, this is not to be missed. The grilled prawns were great, but for me, it was the pasta that stole the show.
Every strand in that big pile of al dente angel hair pasta was "umami-maximus" thanks to the generous amount of prawn oil used. In fact, it is what accounted for the vivid orangey hue of the dish as well. Extra texture came from the delicately crispy Sakura ebi. For something so small, they sure exuded an immense amount of flavour. I loved that the chef threw in plenty of thinly sliced garlic in this aglio olio too.
One portion is large enough to be shared between two people. But the question is, do you really want to? 😉

Cavatelli ($23++)

This is one of only two pastas on the menu at Employees Only but it's a damn delicious way of carb loading.
Hearty in size, the al dente housemade pasta was cooked with pork sausage meat, rocket leaves and tomatoes. Flavours were bold but well balanced.
We had ordered this to share but I could have easily finished it by myself.

Fantastic Bolognaise

Admittedly, this ain't pretty but my goodness, it is truly the best bolognaise I've had in ages! And I don't say this lightly because the last time I felt so strongly about a plate of bolognaise pasta was close to 15 years ago in Hong Kong. It was at Cafe Vergnano in the IFC Mall and up to that point in my life, theirs was the tastiest version I'd ever eaten. So much so that I got a second plate on the spot.
Fast forward to last night when I had the bolognaise cooked by Chef Takashi of Ristorante Luka. One mouthful of their handmade pasta in his stunning minced beef sauce, and I was instantly transported. It reminded me so much of the one I'd dreamed about and craved for over the years (sadly, it wasn't anywhere to be seen when I returned on subsequent trips). So I threw myself into this new discovery - to revel in its harmony of beautifully full and complex tasting sauce with al dente ribbons.
To me, it's an embodiment of joyful comfort food at its best.

Shirasu Aglio E Olio ($20++)

I spied the words "shiso leaf" and promptly decided this had to be mine tonight. Never had I heard of a pasta cooked with this distinctly fragrant Japanese herb before. So naturally, I was curious to try. And it tasted even better than I hoped.
The al dente pasta was done aglio olio style with plenty of olive oil, light golden-brown garlic, juicy capers, whitebait, anchovy and a tiny amount of heat from chillies. I love how with each slurp of the spaghetti, I basically got high on the aroma from the wilted shiso leaves which permeated every part of the dish.
Yes, Luka's "Shirasu Aglio E Olio" had me completely captivated.

Tagliatelle With Maine Lobster ($38++)

At a recent lunch at Spago at MBS, I decided to have the Tagliatelle With Maine Lobster from the a la carte menu. It's a departure from my usual set lunch choice but I was very pleased to have tried something new.
The fresh, in-house made pasta was cooked al dente and had soaked in the flavours from the umami shellfish broth that was sweet from confit tomatoes and leeks. Rollicking around in the pasta were large chunks of bouncy, succulent lobster flesh - I love that it had been thoughtfully de-shelled for ease of eating. With saffron, garlic, parsley and chilli also used in the cooking, it's little wonder this boasts more flavour than your average pasta dish. Serving size was on the generous side as well.

Mushroom Ravioli ($20)

Vegetarians, this is a new pasta at South Union Park you should check out.
Each handmade ravioli is stuffed with mushroom and cooked al dente. I am partial to pesto and theirs, made from scratch with basil, is delicious. Pops of sweet juiciness come courtesy of a few oven-dried tomatoes. And as the finishing touch, Chef Terence throws on some light panko-like bits for a little crunch.
Come to think of it, non-vegetarians might want to give this a try too.

Firebake Bread Board ($10++)

I know of a few ardent foodies who have been waiting with bated breath for FireBake to open. To be honest, I've lost count of the number of times we've driven past the place ourselves to check if they've begun operations. Anyway, they have - yay! So we hustled down for dinner tonight, on their second day of business.
We started with the Firebake Bread Board because duh, it's a no-brainer to go with what Bing Leow, supportive wife of the chef-owner recommends.
All four breads: the rye, white, wholemeal and fruit were made from scratch in-house. And baked in their wood-fired, lava stone oven that was constructed brick by brick on the premises.
If I was forced to choose, I'd pick the white and the fruit as my faves. The former because basic never tasted so good, and the latter for all the gorgeous dried organic fruit within (I am already imagining how awesome it'd taste sliced thin and toasted).
Let's also not forget the show-stealing accompaniments of Norwegian salted butter and green-gold Greek extra virgin olive oil sprinkled with some sea salt. If these are not already kept under lock and key, I advise that course of action be taken asap.

Signature Noodle Dish That Is Worth The Hype

Everyone comes here for this. Every table has it. Having finally eaten the "San Lou Meehoon" myself, I can understand why.
Although the noodles look crispy and hard in photos (well, at least to me), they aren't. The moment you lift up a bunch, you'll notice they loosen easily because each fragrant strand's remarkably soft and moist.
Mixed in this meehoon "pancake" are short pieces of cuttlefish and fried egg which gives the dish its flavour. Instead of being fried in, the "chye sim" is blanched and added to the dish before it's served. That's good because I dislike shrivelled up veg.
There were seven of us at dinner. So as recommended by @angelineongsuming, we got the largest portion ($16). Even then, I am sure if a second plate had appeared, we would have hoovered up every strand on it too.

About Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Veronica Phua

4682 Reviews  89838 Followers

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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